Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Starting Spreadsheets

We started working on spreadsheets today, and right away I feel like it is going to be a long and tedious process. I have worked with spreadsheets a little bit before, but by no means do I consider myself an expert. We started out by doing a practice exercise and then I moved on to the assignment that is due in a few days. The practice exercise was extremely useful in learning how the assignment was going to work as far as entering the formulas for adding up total points and giving the right or wrong answer. It was also helpful in helping me re familiarize myself with something that I have not used in a while. However, when it came time to add directions, the questions of the quiz, eliminating the white space, and other formatting things such as color and pictures, the exercise did not help. I felt like I was on my own in figuring out a few of the things, but I still have a few more class periods to look for an answer or ask for help.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Inspiring Inspiration

Today we began our project by using the Inspiration software. I have used Inspiration before in my special education class, but we had to do a specific assignment with a team, and there was little to no creativity involved. It was used strictly for research and presentation. This project is much better in the fact that I can tailor it to what I will be teaching in the future so I could one day use it if necessary. I chose to use Shakespeare and compare the use of one theme in two of his most famous tragedies: MacBeth and Hamlet. Both of the main characters in the plays face traps that are either set by themselves through predestined fate, or intentionally in order to catch the murderer. I wanted to use the software to show how students can easily brainstorm and connect ideas together, especially when comparing and contrasting certain ideas in two stories or plays. Inspiration allows you to choose a template that suits the needs of your project, and then simply fill in the information. I will certainly use this software when I am a teacher because brainstoring and organization so important in the writing process. I have not yet finished my project, but when I am done I will clearly be able to see ideas that I want in a final draft and similarities in the two plays.

Discovering Digital Images

The past few class periods we have been working on understanding the uses of digital images in the classroom by gathering pictures from the web, clipart, and scanners. This section of the class was not new to me. I have had to use clipart and images from websites for projects before. However, I did learn the correct resolution that my pictures should be if I am not printing them (72 dpi), and how scanning images can be helpful to special education learners. Honestly, I had never used a scanner before, and it was very helpful to take something that was not on the computer and make it digital. Even though the process could be time consuming, scanning images into the computer and then manipulating them in order to fit the needs of special learners can be very helpful to the teacher and to the learner. We also created a slideshow as a group and used the digital images to tell a story. I feel like I do this in every day life. I am always taking pictures and uploading them on the web for others to see. They tell a story about my life. Digital images can enhance a lecture, incorperate many universal design techniques, and allow the students and the teacher to showcase their creativity.